NextGen Cyber Talent Announces First Pilot Cohort and Governing Board

Training people with skills necessary for the success of our industry and especially introducing young people to the types of high tech work available is key to our survival as an industry. I just learned about this new non-profit educator who launched operations seeking to close the cyber talent and diversity gap by training traditionally underprivileged and underserved segments.

NextGen Cyber Talent Inc. (“NextGen”), a nonprofit organization training the next generation of cybersecurity professionals, announces its pilot cohort and its first Governing Board. NextGen seeks to provide an avenue into cybersecurity careers for women, minorities and other underprivileged segments through education and mentoring, while simultaneously attacking the skills shortage and lack of diversity in the cybersecurity industry today. The organization partnered with Bay Area community colleges to select its initial pilot cohort and selected a diverse group of 20 students that will begin its online curriculum starting January 19th.

The Herjavec Group estimates that the number of unfilled cybersecurity jobs is expected to grow by 350%, from one million positions in 2013 to 3.5 million in 2021. In addition, (ISC)2 estimates that women account for less than a quarter of the overall cybersecurity workforce.

NextGen has been working with veteran executives and industry leaders to attack these deficiencies via Chapter and Strategic Advisory Boards and has finalized members for its initial Governing Board.

“We are excited to introduce our board of distinguished executives who will bring diverse expertise and insight in support of our mission,” said Founder & Co-Chair Krishnan Chellakarai. “Our work will address the lack of awareness of cybersecurity in younger generations and encourage them to consider building a career in this highly fulfilling field. The organization benefits from its deep network to ensure that NextGen’s board and leadership represents a variety of experts from technology, banking, health care, life sciences, and nonprofit backgrounds.”

“I am thrilled to have Tony Blevins and Phil Cox join Krishnan and myself on the Board to help make the NextGen vision a reality. The program is seeded by the principle of connecting successful leaders from industry with tomorrow’s up and coming talent”, said Co-Chair and Board Member Gary Gauba. “We look forward to building a thriving network of alumni over the coming decade with the active participation and support of industry luminaries like Tony, Phil and our Chapter Board members.”

NextGen’s Governing Board members are:

● Krishnan Chellakarai , Chief Information Security Officer, Gilead Sciences

● Gary Gauba, Managing Director & Founder of The CXO Fund

● Tony Blevins, Vice President of Procurement, Apple

● Phil Cox, Chief Operating Officer, Silicon Valley Bank

About NextGen Cyber Talent

NextGen Cyber Talent Inc. is a non-profit providing a platform to increase diversity and inclusion in the cybersecurity industry. It brings together cybersecurity experts, solution providers and enterprises to make a difference in this community and address a mounting cyber skills shortage and talent gap. Our overall approach will focus on successfully attracting under-represented students and educating them in cybersecurity, privacy and compliance technology, as well as providing them mentorship and opportunities to jump start their careers in the industry. NextGen was founded by Krishnan Chellakarai (CISO, Gilead Sciences) and Gary Gauba (Founder & MD, The CXO Fund).

Emerson Virtual Exchange Had Sustainability Emphasis

The last segment of the Emerson Virtual Exchange had a sustainability emphasis. I sat in on the March 2 Keynote – Making Sustainability a Core Business Strategy. There are more sessions March 4 and again next week.

The keynote speakers were:

  • Mike Train, Emerson President and Corporate Sustainability Lead
  • Randy Page, Emerson Automation Group President Final Control
  • Michelle George, VP Engineering and Storage & Transmission Operations, Enbridge
  • Greg Houston, President, Lakeside Process Controls (Emerson Local Impact Partner)

Sustainability has evolved from “the right thing to do” to “business critical”.  It touches nearly every aspect of business and our personal lives. Mike Train and Randy Page as they discuss the drivers for Sustainability, the opportunities to get started and practical steps to move your Sustainability program forward.  And as Hydrogen emerges to transform our energy mix, an important opportunity many countries and energy companies are exploring is the blending of Hydrogen into the Natural Gas infrastructure.  Enbridge’s Michelle George discusses this important step in ‘greening the pipeline’ with Emerson’s Randy Page and Lakeside Process Controls’ Greg Houston.  

Page discussed the pressures coming from society, government, customers, and the board to pursue sustainability goals. There is an urgency to improve the product mix with a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Train noted the role of automation as an enabler for business success. He stressed that his many conversations with business, government, and academic leaders focus on the importance of collaboration amongst them.

Train laid out three points: Emerson of—greening of Emerson; by—Emerson helps customers achieve sustainability goals; with—collaboration with government, academia, other groups.

His focus is to build a sustainability culture with goal 20% reduction by 2028. Emerson taps into the creativity of employees, for example,  gamifying the search for waste through “Treasure Hunts”. Spreading the word within the company has generated lots of ideas.

Sustainability is great for business, as it’s essentially eliminating waste. Emissions reduction fits right in Final Control wheelhouse. Valves can be a big source of emissions. Emerson has improved valve packing and sealing technology and have a new PRV solution.

Michelle George discussed the work at Enbridge gas distribution and storage on sustainability target net zero emissions. The company has a pilot project greening pipelines by introducing hydrogen into pipelines and storage leveraging the expertise of supplier Lakeside Process controls. The pilot project uses excess electrical power from sustainable generating for hydrolysis of water, capturing hydrogen, and either capturing or releasing oxygen. This can be blended into natural gas or use existing pipelines and storage to handle hydrogen as a fuel of the future.

Greg Houston discussed the challenges for pipeline and valve sealing, since H2 is a smaller molecule. Users would require a greater volume of gas for an equivalent heat content.

Train summarized, “Achievement will not be with a big bang, but with smaller efforts over time.”

Make your plans for a live Emerson Exchange on September 27-30 at the Gaylord in Washington, D.C. I see that the board is still accepting proposals for presentations if you have some good stories to tell.

Schneider Electric Updates EcoStruxure Automation Expert, Forges Strategic Agreement with Wood

Schneider Electric presented a couple of news items to us at the ARC Industry Forum a couple of weeks ago. It continues to push its evangelization of software-defined control using IEC 61499. It also announced a strategic agreement with Wood plc. I just got off a Webcast billed as customers using Automation Expert. Instead, it was a deep dive into the product—which is OK. 

Interesting note (to me, anyway) that the speaker called IEC 61499 a new standard written with Industry 4.0 in mind. I pulled a book from my library a couple of weeks ago that I reviewed in 2001, “Modeling Control Systems Using IEC 61499”.  Anyway, this really is a step in the right direction. The Open Process Automation group uses this standard, among others. One last weird note—they call Automation Expert new, but they just released version 21.0?

Schneider Electric announced EcoStruxure Automation Expert version 21.0, the next in an ongoing series of updates and enhancements for the world’s first software-centric system. 

Schneider Electric is implementing Agile software development methodology to deliver a new EcoStruxure Automation Expert release, based on direct customer feedback, every six months.

“Keeping pace with rapid innovation while still maintaining the capability to be 100% future proof is a key benefit of EcoStruxure Automation Expert for our customers,” said Fabrice Jadot, senior vice president, next generation automation, Schneider Electric. “In the space of a couple months we’ve added features and functions that will enhance the user experience and directly address high-demand customer needs. Our best-in-class implementation of agile mode project delivery¾along with an overall agile mindset¾helps us provide an always-current experience for our users.”

IEC 61499 adoption

EcoStruxure Automation Expert, first launched to the public in November 2020, is the world’s first universal automation offer, based on the IEC61499 standard for interoperability and portability. 

Early interest in this new category of industrial automation is strong. The company reports that its integrator partners see enormous benefit in being able to add value beyond traditional PLC control. Early adopters are innovating to provide comprehensive, more capable solutions by combining technologies for their customers.

“This is not the same automation platform from 30 or 40 years ago, so there’s an initial learning curve for adjusting to IEC61499-based technology,” said Jadot. “But we’re finding that once customers and partners dive into the technology, they see real returns in flexibility and speed of engineering unlike anything they’ve experienced before. When users realize the full value of EcoStruxure Automation Expert, the most common response is, ‘This is a game changer.’”

EcoStruxure Automation Expert is particularly drawing interest from businesses in the consumer packaged goods and logistics sectors where the added flexibility is needed to react quickly to changing market dynamics, take advantage of new opportunities, or rapidly mitigate potential risk.

Next-generation technology

Enhancements in EcoStruxure Automation Expert V21.0 include:

  • EtherNet/IP scanner for software programmable automation controller
  • ASi-5 gateway
  • Position control with Lexium 32 servo drives

and updates include:

  • Common function library improvements 
  • Improved user interface
  • Ability to define supported function blocks in logical devices
  • Physical view enhancements
  • Other quality, performance, security and usability enhancements

Universal automation

Universal automation is the world of plug and produce automation software components based on the IEC61499 standard that solve specific customer problems in a proven way. Adoption of a universal automation layer, common across vendors, will provide limitless opportunities for growth and modernization across industry. 

By greatly extending the capabilities of existing IEC61131-based systems and enabling an app-store-like model for automation software components, the advancements possible in the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be fully realized. As its benefits become visible, Schneider Electric believes other vendors will adopt universal automation, and end users will soon begin to demand it from their automation suppliers and ecosystem.

Schneider Electric and Wood Forge Strategic Agreement

Schneider Electric has formed a strategic relationship with Wood, a global leader in delivering automation solutions for projects, operations and consulting services to energy, industrial, and several other vertical markets, to make open and interoperable automation a reality for customers.

The memorandum of understanding agreement provides Wood’s automation and control group access to Schneider Electric’s IEC61499-based software, helping them deliver open, standards-based automation solutions to their global energy and industrial customers. Using object-oriented, event-based programming, where hardware and software lifecycles are decoupled and engineering efficiency is optimized, Schneider Electric and Wood are now able to provide mutual clients with next-generation, open automation and control, which can deliver step-change operational improvements today while also simplifying upgrades in the future.

“With closed systems, the full potential of Industry 4.0 remains untapped,” said Fabrice Jadot, Senior Vice President, Industrial Automation, Schneider Electric. “To accelerate industrial digital transformation, we must prioritize portability of automation applications. Today, agility and resilience are paramount. The IEC61499 standard delivers that needed interoperability and that’s why it is fundamental to the shift towards more flexible automation. We are delighted to be working with Wood, an industry innovator that has been leveraging the benefits of IEC61499, to deliver the next-generation automation solutions that end users need to thrive in the digital economy.”

“By combining our diverse capabilities and domain expertise in automation with the IEC61499 technology, we can unlock unprecedented innovation for our customers,” said Bridget Fitzpatrick, Global Process Automation Authority, Wood. “The siloed nature of industry is holding us all back. We agree that collaboration is essential to next-generation industries, and IEC61499 is the enabler. We look forward to continuing to bring greater value to our customers’ projects and welcoming a new era of open automation.”

Global 2020 Manufacturing Industry Output

Manufacturing contraction lower than expected at 3.9%, driven by 1.9% growth in China 

  • Korea also leading the pack, but Germany falters
  • Rubber and plastics machinery sector gains new significance in the light of the pandemic
  • Semiconductors and electronics machinery sector emerges virtually unscathed

Market numbers and analysis from Interact Analysis are the ones I prefer. I’ve discussed methodology with executives and remain impressed with the rigor. Plus, they work with ITR Economics, a firm I’ve worked with (and miss reading Alan Beaulieu’s monthly column I sourced for another magazine). 2020 was a tough year everywhere but manufacturing for the most part surprisingly maintained output.

The latest quarterly update to the Manufacturing Industry Output (MIO) Tracker from Interact Analysis reveals unexpectedly strong overall global manufacturing performance.This is an upward revision on the previous MIO updates. At our most pessimistic point, we forecast a -4% contraction in industrial output for China. But the country’s rigorous suppression of the virus meant that production was back on track by May 2020, and the region is now posting 1.9% growth.

The Chinese recovery has had a significant impact on global growth, but it still represents considerable overall lost growth, putting China among the four global loss-leaders, along with India, Japan, and the USA, who have together racked up in excess of $200bn in lost MIO potential. Korea’s track-and-trace strategy has been hugely effective, and the country has seen strong growth in the electronics and components sectors resulting in overall negative growth of only -2.4% for 2020.

In Europe, Germany’s economy in particular has suffered, and recovery will be sluggish. Key factors here are the country’s huge reliance on export markets in Eastern Europe and globally, notably in the automotive and metals sectors which have both fared badly in the pandemic.

Where industrial machinery is concerned, one of the biggest casualties globally has been the machine tools sector, which has been hit hard by the major slow-down in the transportation industries. In Germany, machine tools is down 30% and this is reflected in weak performance in other European countries too, such as the UK where we also predict the machine tools market to be down over 30%. And Europe is not alone: few of the major regions are likely to return to 2019 levels in the next 6 years.

COVID-19 has driven, and will continue to drive, the demand for plastic and rubber medical supplies and personal protective equipment. However, the rubber and plastics machinery sector did experience a decline in demand in 2020 with Korea, India and the UK seeing contractions of the order of -15.8%, -13.9% and -13.4% respectively. However, all the top 10 regions are expected to recover to 2019 levels by 2023 at the latest. Strong APAC performance will bolster a growth that will see production values rise from $49.6bn in 2020 to $53.4bn in 2021.

Adrian Lloyd, CEO at Interact Analysis, says: “The semiconductor and electronics machinery sector is one of the few sectors to have come through the pandemic untouched. Most major regions are forecast to grow past 2019 levels in 2020, with global growth forecast at 9.9%.  The few who don’t will be back up and running at a stronger level than 2019 by 2021. Growth will likely be slightly slower in 2022 and 2023 but will remain positive. APAC is the leading producer of semiconductor and electronics machinery. We forecast a 5-year CAGR for Korea of 9.1%. It’s a good sector to be in. But some regions really need to play catch-up.”

About the MIO

Our team of analysts works in close conjunction with ITR Economics, a renowned and reliable team of economists who help inform our macroeconomics forecasts. Our rigorous data collection, some of it anonymised confidential material from individual manufacturers and end-users gathered during hours of interviews either face to face or by phone, and some of it gleaned from the public domain, notably government policy and financial documents, means we have significant monthly data to pull on. With almost a full year’s worth of indicators available, it allows us to test our forecast of several scenarios and predict the overall yearly growth for 2020 and beyond more accurately.

About Interact Analysis

Interact Analysis is an international provider of market research for the Intelligent Automation sector. Our team of experienced industry analysts delivers research into three core sectors: industrial automation, robotics and warehouse automation, and commercial vehicles. Intelligent Automation – which is the integration of artificial intelligence and automation – will change virtually every industry imaginable. This combination enables greater efficiencies, productivity, convenience, and scale. It has the potential to drastically alter the outlook for many traditional industries such as manufacturing, healthcare and automotive as well as to lead to the emergence of entirely new industries.

PAS Releases Sensor and Data Integrity

New capability ensures configuration data integrity and signal tracing to improve process safety, reduce cyber risk and support digital transformation

PAS (now PAS Global, part of Hexagon) has long provided some valuable and interesting solutions for process automation. Its Integrity series of configuration management tools now integrated with its cyber security work offers many benefits. This announcement was highlighted at our meetings (virtual, of course) at the 2021 ARC Industry Forum.

PAS Global announced Sensor Data Integrity, a new Automation Integrity module, which enables industrial organizations to ensure configuration data integrity for smart and traditional sensors with signal tracing and validation. This addition to Automation Integrity helps reduce both process safety and cyber risk in support of digital transformation and Industrie 4.0 initiatives.

As industrial organizations expand their deployment of smart sensors, it is becoming increasingly more complex to manage configuration consistency across field device management, distributed control systems (DCS), programmable logic controllers (PLC), safety instrumented systems (SIS), historians and other operational technology (OT). Managing the complex configuration of millions of multi-vendor sensors consistently has become a major challenge for industrial companies. The lack of effective sensor management also puts digital transformation initiatives at risk of falling short of their intended benefits, potentially wasting multimillion-dollar investments.

The new Sensor Data Integrity module provides multi-vendor:

  • Discovery of smart, industrial IoT, and traditional analog sensors
  • Visibility to the complete inventory and potential cyber vulnerability for sensors
  • Creation of templates to define approved configuration for each sensor type
  • Automated detection of configuration errors
  • Automated identification of devices that don’t match assigned templates
  • Cross-checking of parameters (ranges, units, etc.)
  • Support for large-scale, multi-site sensor deployments
  • Sensor signal tracing, validation and visualization

The information provided by Sensor Data Integrity can also be leveraged by sensor asset management systems (AMS) to support instrument calibration and can feed PAS Cyber Integrity to support cybersecurity vulnerability assessments.

“PAS has a strong history of customer-led innovation and the development of Sensor Data Integrity builds on that tradition,” said Eddie Habibi, PAS Founder. “The expansion of smart sensors is making it increasingly difficult for operations teams to monitor for configuration drift and inconsistencies. This means teams are spending more time trying to find issues instead of correcting them, which increases the risk of poor plant performance and cyber vulnerabilities. PAS, now part of Hexagon, is the first technology provider addressing this challenge with a multi-vendor solution that works across OT systems.”

With Sensor Data Integrity, industrial organizations will:

  • Reduce manual effort in reconciling sensor and field device configurations
  • Improve plant performance and reduce safety risk (e.g., fewer unit trips due to bad configurations)
  • Reduce sensor configuration drift and errors by more than 40%
  • Enhance decision-making with higher-quality sensor diagnostics
  • Leverage sensor data for vulnerability assessment and obsolescence planning
  • Reduce sensor-related cost overruns before startup (e.g., accelerated loop check out)

“Multi-vendor sensor configuration management is a long-standing challenge in the industrial sector and the problem is only getting worse with the proliferation of smart sensors,” said Larry O’Brien, Research VP ARC Advisory Group. “In a 2017 study, ARC estimated the process industries lose as much as $1 trillion per year due to unplanned downtime. Misconfigured or inconsistent sensor configurations are key contributors to these events. We are pleased to see PAS, with support from key customers, has introduced sensor data integrity to address this pervasive and growing problem.”

After-Sales Remote Service Platform With Multi-camera Fieldstreaming Video Support Of All Camera Types

Technologies that enable remote service and support were already a trend before the travel restrictions of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic hit. These have improved exponentially since the first demo I experienced in 2000. I was recently introduced to ADTANCE, German company in that space, which I guess is their English translation of German into “fieldstreaming”. Anyway, without being able to test it or play with it, this new solution looks powerful.

ADTANCE, an international After-Sales Service technology platform provider for manufacturers, industrial companies, and mechanical engineering organizations, announced a new Support Module and Fieldstreaming solution that is fully integrated into the ADTANCE Smart Services Platform 4.0. The Fieldstreaming solution is the first live remote support software capable of connecting every type of camera to the system, including cameras within smartphones, tablets, computers, security cameras, drones and underwater Remote Operated Vehicles (ROVs). Users can live stream views of machines from various angles simultaneously– significantly improving live support, remote training and long-distance collaboration in the field. 

“We’ve seen customer demand for live remote support, training and collaboration skyrocket – in part because of the current COVID-19 challenges, but also due to increasingly complex machines and a shortage of highly skilled technicians,” said Nils Arnold, Co-founder and CEO of ADTANCE. “Our new ADTANCE Support and Fieldstreaming solution is uniquely suited to address the growing set of remote service use cases. Companies want service technicians to be able to view machines from a variety of angles in real-time, conduct live remote user training from multiple perspectives, and collaborate remotely using multiple cameras. Our new Support Module and Fieldstreaming Solution makes all these use cases possible and simple.”

“ADTANCE’s Fieldstreaming Solution is a game-changer for us,” said Michael Ntagas, Director of After Sales Service at Reifenhäuser Group. “Now we are able to build an entire machine – sixteen meters high – and get the technical assistance we need 100% remotely. After the machine is built, we can remotely educate and train machine operators; effectively collaborate long distance with our customers to test new mixtures of raw materials running in the machine; and upgrade machines without traveling to the customer site. ADTANCE Support and Fieldstreaming Solution reduces the significant costs and current risks of traveling to customer sites, while increasing the number of customers our highly technical experts can service.”

The ADTANCE Support Module also includes the following new capabilities that improve communication and collaboration between service technicians and customers.

Users can now start an ADTANCE Support session by sending a message, document, or video recording in addition to initiating a session through a video call. Users do not need to download an app, as ADTANCE Support now runs on all browsers and mobile devices. Invitations to sessions can be shared by simply sending a link without the need to set up a user account. At any time during a session, users can send messages, documents, recordings, open a live video chat or collaborate using a digital whiteboard.

Snapshots can be taken at any time during the ADTANCE Support live video stream and users can mark up the video with circles, arrows or pertinent notes. Several people can work on a snapshot within the support session at the same time. A service technician simply sends a request to the field worker and once it is accepted, the system automatically executes a snapshot. Alternatively, users have the option to immediately accept all snapshots for a session prior to starting the video call. This allows the service expert to take snapshots at any time during the live video stream. 

ADTANCE Support now allows closed sessions to be reactivated and viewed again at any time. The documentation remains in place and participants can be invited back into the session. This saves time and significantly improves customer service, especially when there is a complex or recurring problem with the same customer.

“The new capabilities in ADTANCE Support are very impressive,” said Stephan Czwick, Product Manager at Schuler Group. “The ability to rejoin closed sessions is particularly valuable. A technician can view or restart a session days later and still have all the important information of the case intact, which allows the service expert to immediately pick up where they left off with the customer. This can save our technicians a tremendous amount of time and improve customer satisfaction.”

ADTANCE Support now includes translation for 147 different languages. Users simply select a language, speak, then click a button and the system translates their speech into the selected language. This unparalleled language support enables companies to leverage their highly technical experts on a global basis. 

ADTANCE Smart Service Platform 4.0

The ADTANCE Smart Service Platform 4.0 is the only centralized platform for digitizing the entire After-Sales Service lifecycle and encompasses the following modules:

·        ADTANCE Support – Enables live remote support, inspection and maintenance for customers, utilizing devices such as smart glasses and multi-camera fieldstreaming.

·        ADTANCE Workflow – Digitizes, analyzes and optimizes all workflows, including everyday processes, such as maintenance instructions.  

·        ADTANCE Process Visualization and Monitoring (PVM) – Monitors the performance of individual machines as well as entire industrial plants.

·        ADTANCE Predictive Maintenance (PM) – Analyzes and evaluates operational data in real time through the continuous monitoring of machines or the entire production plant using built-in sensors. Machine learning-based analysis offer predictions about potential downtime as well as warnings if a piece of equipment will require maintenance.  

·        ADTANCE Ticketing – Standardizes entire customer service channels by bundling different channels into one system, including e-mail, telephone, SMS and social media. Creates order and clarity by providing different escalation levels with the respective reaction and resolution times.

·        ADTANCE Document Management (DM) – Stores all customer service documents centrally, as well as control the access rights for security and privacy purposes. 

·        ADTANCE Parts – A central catalogue system to ensure that all spare part information remains centrally located and easily discoverable.